Refreshers v V&A CC
Saturday 18 September 2021
On a glorious late summer’s day the Refreshers played their last fixture of the season in the bucolic setting of Stonor Park in South Oxfordshire. Given our opposition’s relaxed attitude to starting on time – we were all present and ready by 11am, they were still just seven by 11.45 – we stuck them in to give their stragglers time to arrive in what we were told was to be a 35 over match. As the red kites wheeled overhead and a herd of deer loped across the rolling hills opposite, Sachin and new recruit Chris Harper set about their openers on what was a surprisingly lively track. These economic opening overs exerted pressure which paid off when first change bowlers Andy Gardner and Leo Buscombe came in and picked up three quick wickets between them, frustrating V&A at a time when they needed to accelerate. Five further overs of tight bowling from Akhtar Ahmad, combined with excellent fielding all round the park, restricted the opposition to a modest total of 157-4.
After a shaky opening in response, which included the unfortunate early run out of Paul Stewart, another new recruit, the left-handed James Waddington, anchored our innings with steady resolve, in a knock that included a sumptuous Goweresque cover drive to the ropes before his eventual fall for 26. While Waddington slowly accumulated, Sachin bludgeoned their bowlers to all corners, including a remarkable pulled six off a bouncer that otherwise would have decapitated him. Waddington’s departure allowed in a determined Leo Buscombe who, after a watchful start, opened his shoulders and dispatched the bowling with aplomb. The last over he faced, and of the match, included scores of 4,4,6,4 and 6 in a personal total of 39 not out, leaving Sachin unbeaten with a man-of-the-match 75 not out. It was a comprehensive victory by eight wickets with ten overs to spare.
Moment of the match was Leo’s one-handed diving catch low to his right, after initially falling to the left from the natural movement of his own bowling. The batsman had already set off to run what he thought was a well struck straight drive, and stood statue-like in disbelief when he realised he’d been caught.
The game was played in the best of spirits, all revelling in the warm end of summer sunshine, with drinks with the opposition at the Golden Ball rounding off an excellent day’s cricket.